Friday the 13th does not appear to be unlucky for Princeton’s Eddie Owens as earlier this morning, Owens qualified for the finals of the 3,000m steeplechase at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Owens’ time of 8:52.99 is a new personal best and the ninth-fastest time going into Sunday’s final.
“I was feeling good, but this race with such a high-level of competition and inflated expectations, these guys were running fast, like 68s – blazing,” Owens was quoted in a USATF section summary. “But, I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to run 70s.’ I was holding that pace and started to track down kids, and I was thinking to myself, ‘Man, I’ve got to get into fifth or sixth place’. I put what I had into it. I didn’t close very fast, but I did what I needed to.”
The steeple has been long dominated by Kenyans at the World Juniors. The last 12 champions have been from that amazing country and a look at the preliminaries would indicate that the streak could easily get to 13. Countryman Gilbert Kanlangat Kirui took the first of two steeple semifinals by more than 11 seconds in 8:26.58. Teammate Consesius Kipruto must have been unimpressed as he scorched the second heat, winning by more than 17 seconds in 8:19.46. That time is below the Olympic A standard. Needless to say, Owens has his work cut out for him.
Full results can be found here.